Archive for October 9th, 2007

09
Oct
07

Coming soon to your website: videos you don’t like

Sergey And Larry Of Google Share A Moment Of Grave Concern

Google’s confusing purchase of YouTube has so far borne little in the way of a public proof of the concept behind the purchase. It is fair to expect such a proof, monumental as it would be: the public emergence of a business model that is based on selling your neighbor’s house and possessions is a historic development we eagerly await. Presuming it is not our neighbor placing our home on the market, naturally.

Google’s AdSense program, wherein space on web site pages are occupied by ads served by Google and paid for by Google’s advertising clientèle includes hundreds of thousands of websites. In an effort to leverage Google’s purchase of YouTube (to do something with all that video) and simultaneously expand and strengthen AdSense, Google will announce today that YouTube videos are being added to the AdSense program. This means those easily-ignored text ads in the right-hand column will now include video clips, targeted by subject just like AdSense ads are now. From Miguel Helft’s piece in today’s New York Times:

The service, which represents the first major combination of a Google product with YouTube, will give video creators wide distribution beyond YouTube via Google’s network, known as AdSense. Since the videos will be surrounded by ads, the service is another way for Google to cash in on the huge number of video clips stored on YouTube.

Several other networks distribute videos and ads on the Web, but none reach as many Web sites as AdSense.

Google said it would share revenue from the ads with the creators of the videos and with the Web sites that embed them, though it declined to specify what percentage of the revenue will be kept by each party.

“We are creating incremental distribution for our content providers,” said Christian Oestlien, product manager for AdSense. Mr. Oestlien said the system would also allow publishers to make their Web sites more compelling and give advertisers a new way to reach customers.

While many Web sites already embed YouTube clips in their pages, this system would allow them to make money from the clips. They would not, however, have the same level of control over what clip gets embedded.

Sure, if your definition of “compelling” includes handing over more page space to quasi-random clips of god-knows-what production value, usefulness, quality level, credibility, etc. At least the thorny issue of YouTube video ownership has been sidestepped (yet again):

For now, the system’s scope, and its potential to deliver new revenue to Google, is limited, because only about 100 media companies that have created YouTube videos will be participating.

Google declined to give a full list of participants, but of those it listed, none were large media companies. They include Expert Village, a producer of how-to videos; Ford Models, a modeling agency; and Extreme Elements, which creates videos about extreme sports. Over time, Google expects to use AdSense to syndicate other types of content besides video, the company said.

Seems like a long way to go just to assemble a list of 100 companies who make videos nobody wants to see.

And about these videos: is there an end in sight for this charade where we pretend that a media asset has no important qualities beyond its indexability in a search engine? As we watch the craft of filmmaking succumb to the same race to the bottom that music, graphic design and print each suffered in the wake of the personal computer, is there any chance we will notice that, contrary to Josef Stalin’s famous comment, quantity does not have a quality all its own?

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